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Striking waste collectors resume work in Chandigarh, RWAs want charge of garbage collection

A section of garbage collectors says they may resume strike next week if MC does not rollback its takeover of door-to-door garbage collection.
By Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 12:26 AM IST

A large section of the striking garbage collectors returned to work on Saturday, resuming waste collection in the southern sectors.

Taking note of the harassment caused to residents due to the strike running into multiple days, the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) also called an emergency meeting, where it was sought that waste collection be left to the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs).

The municipal corporation last month took over door-to-door garbage collection in Sectors 1 to 30, which did not go down well with the informal cart-based collectors. To lodge their dissent against the move, they stopped picking up garbage from houses in areas beyond Sector 30, causing refuse to pile up at homes and on streets.

After MC officials yielded to some of their demands after a meeting on Friday, the garbage collectors decided to return to work.

“After detailed talks with MC and realising the inconvenience caused to residents, the garbage collectors decided to get back to work,” said Om Prakash Saini, chairman, Chandigarh Door-to-Door Garbage Collectors’ Society that claims to represent 80% of the informal sector.

However, Shamsher Lohatiya, president of the local unit of Akhil Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangathan (ABMS), which represents another section of garbage collectors, said they may again go on strike next week if MC didn’t rollback the takeover. A meeting regarding this is scheduled with MC commissioner KK Yadav next week.

‘Residents always at receiving end’

“Garbage collection and segregation has become a Herculean task for the municipal corporation. Worse, due to their impractical decisions, residents end up suffering time and again, despite paying taxes,” said Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, FOSWAC. The body’s general secretary JS Gogia narrated how some RWAs had to hire private trolleys during the deadlock between MC and waste collectors.

President of the Sector 46-D RWA, Kedarnath Sharma said, “A similar situation should not arise again. RWAs must seek legal recourse against MC for creating disorder in garbage collection. The older system must be fine-tuned rather than introducing a new one.”

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